The Liberation of Downsizing

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Just 5 weeks before shipping out on our new life, Eric found Fluent in Three Months. Among the 29 life lessons this guy learned during 8 years of RTW travel, this one spoke to me, particularly as we were selling and giving away 99% of what we owned.  Possessions Own You. 

“Look at the real reason you want to buy more expensive crap and realise that it all comes down to validation from others in one way or another. You don’t really need any of it unless it’s directly related to essentials in how you work or survive.

The need to buy new crap dictates your life – it fixes you in one location with that house and furniture, and it governs how much money you need to earn. And it almost never actually enriches your life in any way. The less you own the better.”

As we donated stacks of books and gave away boxes of CDs, I thought about how much we spent on all of that stuff.  As I was downsizing, I donated dozens of shoes, I thought about how many of them I barely wore.  In the end we had about 64 wine glasses of varying shapes, sizes, and quality.  I love my wine, but generally can only drink out of one glass at a time.  We have never served wine to 62 of our friends at once.  Who, outside of a small commercial establishment needs that many wine glasses?  We lived a Crate & Barrel lifestyle and although we never really tried to keep up with the Joneses, we continued to accumulate stuff for most of the first 12 years we were together.

Getting rid of all our stuff became entirely liberating!  Downsizing helped me to feel like I was living a more authentic life!

We did not getting rid of everything.  We are lucky enough to have family store some things for us for later.  But, we managed to get our lives down to about 10 plastic bins for storage and two travel backpacks.  We kept things we bought during our travels.  We kept memories.  Not stuff.


Two weeks before our lease was up, we only had items in our cabinet that we actually used:


Even better:


After all, why do we need so much stuff anyway?

This post was originally published on Escape the Predictable Life. 


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